ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - The state’s COVID-19 positivity rates have gone down since the post-holiday surge, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo is worried the pandemic could still get worse.
At a virtual news conference Monday, the governor said he’s worried about a second wave of the coronavirus.
Many people, he said, have erroneously called the recent surge a second wave.
“People started to call the holiday surge a second wave,” he said. “It was a second surge, it wasn’t a second wave.”
A second wave, he explained, is when there’s a new strain of the virus.
“That’s what we’re afraid we’re seeing now,” he said, with the more-infectious strain that was first identified in the United Kingdom.
CDC officials now say the U.K. variant could become the dominant strain by March.
“That would be a second wave,” Cuomo said, “because the U.K. strain is much more contagious than the first COVID strain.”
There are also strains from South Africa and Brazil, he said, that are causing concern.
“Any of these three strains could be a second wave,” he said.
Cuomo again criticized the federal government for inaction.
“If you know there’s a U.K. strain, if you know there’s a South African strain, if you know there’s a Brazilian strain, why don’t you do something?” he said.
“Why don’t you stop those people from coming here?” he said. “We went through this last spring.”
It’s difficult to tell what strains are circulating, he said, because it requires genetic sequencing, which takes state labs a couple days to process.
Seventeen cases of the U.K. variant have been identified in the state so far.